In a perfect world, we would be hiring aides with BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) master’s degree in Special Education. But, none of us can probably afford to pay someone with those credentials out of pocket. Government funding will certainly not pay an aide what a person of that education would require to work with our children for multiple hours a week.
Thus, we have to be creative. The best alternative that I, and other families like mine, have found; are hiring college students. Often, they are eager to learn the “industry.” Some may even desire to put in hours at no charge to fulfill the amount of field participation they need in order to graduate. Here is our step by step process:
I make fliers to hang up around whatever college campus I’m focusing on, stating, “We Are Hiring.” Please see the picture below. I make little snippets for students to rip off, containing my phone number &/or email. At the top of the flier, I describe our children and how many hours we need filled. This has been my most successful method of find great aides.
I also get on yahoo groups, and message board internet groups. Some of them include www.abaconnections.com, www.care.com, www.sittercity.com, and more. Check Autism Speaks as they did host yahoogroups in different areas to help families find providers. Googling Respite Connections, Autism grants, etc. may provide avenues for financial help for ABA. There are a ton of ABA Ipad apps also, that could be tried if a true ABA program is out of reach.
Another important method, is to contact local colleges by phone. I find out department heads emails. I then send those people the flier that I have hung on their campus. The head of the department then emails every student in their program. Departments I focus on include: education, special education, psychology, nursing, and allied health (often the undergraduate for doctors, physical therapists, and occupational therapists). This has been a proven method. Be ready, some department heads are nicer than others. Most are eager to get their students exposure to their future careers.
Other methods friends have used include: posting newspaper ads, posting on Craigslist, word of mouth, and making business cards that state they are looking for help. You can also check with your private insurance and see what they have to offer with ABA therapy if anything. I have joked when finding aides have been tough, that I’m going to stand on street corners with a sign, “Aides needed.” So far, I haven’t had to resort to that, thank God!
One last avenue worth exploring, is checking with our local school districts to see if they provide any supports for this therapy. I wouldn’t hold your breath, but it is worth a try.
We haven’t been involved in a formal ABA therapy for two years, but we still have aide support. I will describe how that works and looks later. Next, I hope to post about funding avenues. In the meantime, know I’m pulling for you! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Blessings to you and yours always,
Feel free to check into Very Best Software for Autism as we used this program to develop a bunch of support in our ABA program. I hope this encourages you. Remember, don’t be overwhelmed. It is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t wear yourself out. Pace ourselves for the days ahead. We need each of us strong, in good shape. =)